Haley Boyd is the creative director and owner of accessories brand Marais USA. She grew up in Telluride, Colorado (at the time a tiny town of 1,000), has lived in every part of Manhattan and Williamsburg, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California. Wishing she were the kind of gal reading Edith Wharton, Haley instead is usually in the mood for a NY Times best seller or anything she can breeze through, if not at the airport, where she likes to catch up on the most recent Harvard Business Review! See more below on this GAL from our visit with Haley to the Pasadena City Library.
photos by: Julia Stotz
GAL: What was the name of the first book you fell in love with, that turned you into a life long reader?
HB: I grew up in Telluride, a small ski town in Colorado, and was a total jock as a kid. My days were always spent outside, but I remember discovering Roald Dahl when I was about ten years old and wanting to stay home and read all day for the first time in my life. I zipped through Matilda, The Witches, and the rest of Roald’s world pretty quickly. If he had written a hundred books I probably would have read them all that year.
GAL: How often do you read? Everyday? Six hours a week? Please estimate.
HB: After having my eyes on computer and iphone screens all day, I love to read before I go to bed to unwind, normally in the evening for 30 minutes to an hour.
GAL: Do you have a current – or “forever” – favorite book?
HB: For the most part, I like to read for information – memoirs, historical novels, business books, etc. Books like that I generally read only once. A Wrinkle In Time is one of the only books I’ve read more than once.
GAL: Who is your favorite author? (If impossible to choose please name two.)
HB: Roald Dahl, Natalie Angier
GAL: We have a friend who has a “Sanity Shelf” dedicated to books she returns to again and again, to reread for pleasure, knowledge, and solace. What books would be on your Sanity Shelf?
HB: I have a little French bamboo book shelf in my bedroom with my favorites:
Animal Speak (an animal symbolism book I’ve had since childhood), The Grand Surprise: The Journals of Leo Lurman, Woman: An Intimate Geography, The Beautiful Fall, The Complete Stories of Truman Capote, New York Times: 36 hours, The Goldfinch, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up (I am in the midst of an intensive clean out because of this one), Egon Schiele Drawings & Watercolors, Franny & Zooey, The Sex Life of the Foot & Shoe (a hilarious book, summarized as “ A peppy, psychosexual guidebook to our most neglected erogenous zone”), The Catcher in the Rye, The Meaning of Everything, The Botany of Desire.
“I remember discovering Roald Dahl when I was about ten years old and wanting to stay home and read all day for the first time in my life.”
GAL: Do you have a current favorite reading spot? Where is it?
HB: Anywhere in the sun, or in a big cozy chair in the corner of my living room.
GAL: Is it important for you to physically hold a book you read? Or can you read on a device with no problem and no impact on the experience?
HB: Having a library of books and holding them in my hands when I read is one of my favorite parts about reading. I love giving and receiving books as gifts with a personal note in the front cover, or passing around a favorite a volume between friends and family. In general, I’m super tactile whenever I can be – my schedule and lists are in a little date book instead of in my phone or computer; for mood boards, I collage printed images, etc. A kindle would not work for me – books make my home feel like home.
GAL: If you were to write your memoir, what would you title it?
HB: I’ll check back in, in about 30 years when I’m ready for that one.
GAL: How do you choose the books you read?
HB: Recently, I’ve found out about quite a few books via Instagram!
Women like Eva Chen and Sophia Amoruso who seem to read constantly and who post about their favorites are a great resource.
They read a lot of business books and NY Times Best sellers, which are my kind of read.
GAL: Do you prefer non-fiction to fiction? If so, why?
HB: I am pretty heavy in the non-fiction department.
Being curious about history, business, and the lives of interesting people are usually what make me gravitate towards certain books.
GAL: If you read non-fiction, what genre do you prefer?
HB: Historical novels, business books, and biographies. I even love self help books!
GAL: Do you have any books that have influenced your work?
HB: My collection of coffee table and design books is pretty vast – they’re stacked everywhere in my bungalow.
I love to reference interiors, fine art, or whatever I can get my hands on when designing new styles or selecting colors.
“I love to reference interiors, fine art, or whatever I can get my hands on when designing new styles or selecting colors.”
GAL: Please name three books you recommend reading, and the reasons for your choices.
HB: The Meaning of Everything: the story of how the Oxford English dictionary was first compiled.
Woman, An Intimate Geography: Super informative book about female physiology. The author, Natalie Angier, draws from scientific and medical sources but also from mythology, history, art, and literature. Incredible read for new moms or anyone wanting to understand the inner workings of a woman’s body.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: You’ve probably heard of this one, but I am obsessed with the philosophy of filling your home and life only with things that bring you a thrill of pleasure.